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CHOCO
Sep 5th, 2002, 05:45 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/05/sports/tennis/05TENN.html




Capriati's Burdens (and Moods) Have Returned
By SELENA ROBERTS


A decade ago, Jennifer Capriati was the beloved wonder teen, billed as the wholesome tour sweetheart, projected as the next Chris Evert, expected to be adorable from every camera angle.

Under the pressure, she became sullen, irritable and dropped out of sight.

A year ago, Capriati was an embraceable figure, a woman who had emerged from the darkness, gifted with a sense of herself, predicted to be a major threat to the Williams sisters.

Feeling the burden, she has become agitated, moody and confrontational.

For the second time in her life, Capriati is being asked to create a fairy tale. Once again, Capriati is desperate not to let anyone down. Those close to her say privately that she is trying too hard to please, wanting too much to fulfill expectations, hoping to be everything to everyone.

This responsibility was visible at Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday. With a chance to serve for the match against 10th-seeded Amélie Mauresmo and take her appointed spot in the United States Open semifinals, Capriati could not cope and lost, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

"I felt tight throughout the whole match," the third-seeded Capriati said, later explaining, "I think getting tight is basically saying you choked."

Basically, one double fault and two unforced errors later, Capriati found herself in a tie breaker she did not win and two third-set serves she could not hold in a dispiriting outcome.

"I guess everybody's going to get an all-Williams final now," Denise Capriati, Jennifer's mother, said off-handedly. It was not intended, but she put a voice to the kind of burden her daughter is under, whether external or self-induced. Whatever the culprit, Capriati has the feeling that she is the one who is supposed to break up the pattern of all-Williams majors.

The pattern is a little closer to happening for the fourth time in five majors. Last night, Venus Williams advanced to meet Mauresmo in the semifinals after she cleaned up her forehand, brushed up her serve and methodically ended the run of the sentimental favorite, Monica Seles, 6-2, 6-3. Venus's sister Serena had taken her place in the semifinals a day earlier and will face Lindsay Davenport.


"You come into a tournament wanting to win," Seles said. "I faced a player who was better in every department."

Capriati has faith that she can contend with the Williams sisters, especially after all the work she has put in in the last few weeks. In the spring, her fitness dropped off. But yesterday, she seemed physically ready to handle Mauresmo.

Mentally, the confidence was not there. She allowed pressure to creep into her head as the match unfolded. Suddenly, her destiny as a semifinalist with a chance to take on Venus was over.

"There's a difference between wanting to and then expecting yourself to and thinking that you should be up there," Capriati said. "Of course, a lot of other people think I should be up there. It's something that I haven't really felt in a while, and maybe I've been feeling it more lately."

It has been a decade since so much was expected of Capriati. This year, the cycle began again. After winning three majors since the 2001 Australian Open, Capriati's trend of bowing out of majors before the finals has her wondering what's going on.

"Sometimes, the opponent is going to play well also, and it's like, even if that happens, I should win," said Capriati, who committed 51 unforced errors. "I don't know. It's just a lot of stuff going on, maybe."

Same stuff as in the past. Instead of thinking about the titles and the accolades and the fans who have never left her side, Capriati has plunged into a familiar funk.

"I mean, human beings are the only ones that go over and over and do the same mistakes over and over," Capriati said. "We never learn. It's still a different kind of pressure; that's something I have to go back and figure out."

Her desire to probe is a positive sign. This time, Capriati wants to think her problems through, not run from them.

Psychology aside, Capriati also lost to a player who confounds her on the court with a cocktail of slice and topspin. Mauresmo may stay on the baseline or race to the net. In need of rhythm, Capriati has not found one against Mauresmo recently. In three months, Capriati has lost to Mauresmo three times.

"I know she doesn't like to play against me," Mauresmo said. "Maybe she gets a little bit tight when she has to play against me. I've beaten her a few times. As I just said, my game is a little bit different from the other players on the Tour. Maybe she's not used to that so much."

Capriati was not comfortable with the pace on Mauresmo's shots, or her pace between points. Often, Mauresmo refused to be pulled into Capriati's hurry-up style. She took her time in the changeovers and held up her hand to slow down Capriati between serves. Capriati had no comment on Mauresmo's tactics, but Stefano Capriati, Jennifer's father, was less diplomatic.

"When you're ready to serve, the receiver has to be ready," he said. "She was disturbing Jennifer. You saw that."

Mauresmo's strategy did not cause Capriati to flub her opportunities. In the third game of the third set, Capriati made a dazzling save of a break point. She scurried to a drop shot to flick a ball up the line, then raced back to retrieve a lob as it licked the baseline. Capriati lunged to get an overhead by Mauresmo, driving a forehand at her knees. Mauresmo could not handle the heat, plopping a volley into the net.

Drenched from the humidity, panting from the laborious point, Capriati shook a defiant fist as she absorbed a roar from the crowd. But two deuce points later, she botched her momentum with a double fault. As a dubious follow-up, Capriati responded to the next break point against her with a forehand stab at a crosscourt shot by Mauresmo that went wide.

Undone by that game, Capriati never recovered her composure enough for a comeback. She had one last chance to extend the day at the end, but she could not find the critical point to make Mauresmo serve out the match. After fighting off four match points with a series of miracle shots, Capriati's keen survival skills gave out on her with a tight forehand that sailed long.

"It's very frustrating because you try to do everything you can to just kind of relax out there," Capriati said. "I think it's probably just a lot of expectations and pressure that I put on myself."

In a way, it's like 1992 again. But at 26, she may be better equipped to solve the pressure behind her need to please.


Interesting comment by Denise Capriati considering she and Mathew Perry were seen begging for Chanda to defeat Venus.

Oh well...

AjdeNate!
Sep 5th, 2002, 05:52 AM
I think she is putting WAY to much pressure on herself to be the player who stops a Sister Slam. She needs to just get back to brass tacks and play the opponent on the other side of the net - be it a Williams or not.

CHOCO
Sep 5th, 2002, 06:03 AM
Seles - I totally agree with you. :)

Jennifer still has the talent to be GS winner in the future. She just needs to work on that serve and not bear that heavy burden of having to defeat a Williams.

wongqks
Sep 5th, 2002, 06:10 AM
Did anyone realise that her serve was holding up very well until she got to 6-5 in the second? and also she start missing a bit more when she was about to close out the match

She definitely choke a bit on this match, let's hope she don't dwell on it for too long

rhz
Sep 5th, 2002, 06:43 AM
i didn't think she choke on that second set, amelie just play better in the tiebreak!

lukehingis
Sep 5th, 2002, 07:36 AM
i think to ease the pressure Jenny, Martina and Lindsay should form a sort of support group on how to defeat the william sisters.. they could train together (martina and jenny live close to each other), give each other tips on how to win as well as give each other moral support.

Amanda
Sep 5th, 2002, 07:41 AM
LOL @ mama Cappy's comments! Acknowledging that Venus and Serena are the one's to beat!

Beige
Sep 5th, 2002, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by Seles
I think she is putting WAY to much pressure on herself to be the player who stops a Sister Slam. She needs to just get back to brass tacks and play the opponent on the other side of the net - be it a Williams or not.

I completely agree! No disrespect to Mauresmo, JC would've been in the semis had she not been on such a mission to derail the Williamses.

And YES LMAO@Denise! :D

Hulet
Sep 5th, 2002, 12:13 PM
Beige why did you delete your thread with a similar article? I posted there but, by the time my message is posted, the thread was gone. Anyways, this is what I posted:

As always, a very good article by Selena. Thank you Beige & choco for posting it. Jennifer should get rid of the people who put "external pressure" on her to stop the sisters. She should concentrate only on winning her next match. She should have beaten Amelie - Jenn has the match in her hands, but as she said, she let it slip away. She should get rid of this weird mental block against Amelie. ITA with stefano - Amelie was using gamesmanship to slow down the match a lot and the umpire let her get away with it. As I understand it, it's the server who decides the pace of the game - the reciever should be ready to recieve by the time the server lined up.

Anyways, Go Jennifer - relax and comeback strong for your next tournament.

(I hope this thread is not deleted before I hit the replay button;))

Beige
Sep 5th, 2002, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by eta psi
Beige why did you delete your thread with a similar article? I posted there but, by the time my message is posted, the thread was gone. Anyways, this is what I posted:

As always, a very good article by Selena. Thank you Beige & choco for posting it. Jennifer should get rid of the people who put "external pressure" on her to stop the sisters. She should concentrate only on winning her next match. She should have beaten Amelie - Jenn has the match in her hands, but as she said, she let it slip away. She should get rid of this weird mental block against Amelie. ITA with stefano - Amelie was using gamesmanship to slow down the match a lot and the umpire let her get away with it. As I understand it, it's the server who decides the pace of the game - the reciever should be ready to recieve by the time the server lined up.

Anyways, Go Jennifer - relax and comeback strong for your next tournament.

(I hope this thread is not deleted before I hit the replay button;))

Sorry, eta! :o It was the identical article. Choco was just first to post it.

Cybelle Darkholme
Sep 5th, 2002, 12:48 PM
I posted this same article last night.http://www.plauder-smilies.de/sad/scared.gif

brickhousesupporter
Sep 5th, 2002, 01:06 PM
Originally posted by eta psi
Beige why did you delete your thread with a similar article? I posted there but, by the time my message is posted, the thread was gone. Anyways, this is what I posted:

As always, a very good article by Selena. Thank you Beige & choco for posting it. Jennifer should get rid of the people who put "external pressure" on her to stop the sisters. She should concentrate only on winning her next match. She should have beaten Amelie - Jenn has the match in her hands, but as she said, she let it slip away. She should get rid of this weird mental block against Amelie. ITA with stefano - Amelie was using gamesmanship to slow down the match a lot and the umpire let her get away with it. As I understand it, it's the server who decides the pace of the game - the reciever should be ready to recieve by the time the server lined up.

Anyways, Go Jennifer - relax and comeback strong for your next tournament.

(I hope this thread is not deleted before I hit the replay button;))


I don't really see it as gamesmanship. Mauresmo said that she need time to regroup. She has to catch her breath and prepare mentally for the next point. It is not like she was taking a minute to get to receive at the most she took 20-30 seconds which I feel is an acceptable time. You can not play the opponents game you have to play your game.


P.S. Excellent article

Infiniti2001
Sep 5th, 2002, 01:46 PM
"I guess everybody's going to get an all-Williams final now," Denise Capriati, Jennifer's mother, said off-handedly. It was not intended, but she put a voice to the kind of burden her daughter is under, whether external or self-induced. Whatever the culprit, Capriati has the feeling that she is the one who is supposed to break up the pattern of all-Williams majors.

I don't know about anyone else, but this really concerns me... I mean, this woman calls herself a mother for crying out loud... Instead of looking after her daughter's well being, she seems to be part of her problem... Jennifer needs to play for herself and quit worrying about what others want grrrrrrrrrr...:fiery:

servenrichie
Sep 5th, 2002, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by Lukehingis:
i think to ease the pressure Jenny, Martina and Lindsay should form a sort of support group on how to defeat the william sisters.. they could train together (martina and jenny live close to each other), give each other tips on how to win as well as give each other moral support.

I think they are doing that already. Hingis, Capriati and Henin all have been training together in Saddlebrook. Ironically, they have all crashed out.

Seles is right, it is about playing whoever is opposite the net and not psyching yourself up only for Venus and Serena.

servenrichie
Sep 5th, 2002, 02:07 PM
Amelie was taking normal time between points, it is Jennifer who likes to rush, especially when she is ahead. Others must not rush like her, they should just take their time normally. Talk about gamesmanship, getting an important point and shaking her fist in front of her opponent is worse. Amelie showed me for the first time that her head is coming together. She played bad in the first and second set, she was very tight and tentative, she couldnt even trust her backhand. She broke capriati when Capriati was serving for the match, because Capriati herself played tentatively. Amelie then steadied herself in the 3 set!

Everybody in Capriatis (Stefano, Dennis and Steven) family including her boyfreind seems to have joined in this little feud, thereby putting more pressure on Jennifer. Apart from Richard who would say something once in a while, you wont catch Venus, Serena, Oracene or their brothers and sisters commenting on such issues.
They will put such much pressure on her and she has to back it up. I think that is a bit unfair.

TSequoia01
Sep 5th, 2002, 02:32 PM
It is the media fueling this "who can dethrone the Williamses". Tracy Austin, Ted Robinson, Chris Evert, and to a lesser extent John McEnroe are all guilty of this. Don't think that Lindsay does not feel the pressure because she does. No one can play their best under that kind of pressure. :cool:

Serena y Monica
Sep 5th, 2002, 02:52 PM
This concept of having to play at the servers pace is a misnomer...play is at the receivers pace. Where's Disposable when you need him? He'd find the rules. Anyhoo each player has 20 seconds I believe between points...if Jennifer wants to rush and take 5 great but that doesn't mean that Amelie has to forfiet her other fifteen.

tennischick
Sep 5th, 2002, 02:55 PM
as long as Amelie didn't violate the time restrictions, she can take as long as she wants between points. and she didn't violate the restrictions bec the Chair would have called her on it -- Capriati even asked him to but he didn't bec Amelie was careful not to go over the time allotment. very clever of her. it's such a simple strategy to derail Capriati -- Venus has done it to her before as well -- that by now you'd think she'd find a way to accept that not everyone will allow her to play at her rhythm! i almost felt badly for Capriati during her post-match interview. she looked so completely lost, like a little girl who just didn't have a clue how she got there. it must feel worse bec the truth is that she had that match against Amelie in her hands and blew it.

i understand the point of those who are saying that her focus should not have been on the Sisters -- but how could it not be? those ARE her main rivals. on the one hand, if she prepares to beat either V or S (currently the best in the game), then logically she should be able to beat anyone else along the way. on the other hand, Amelie mixes up her shots much more than either V or S do, so perhaps that preparation would not have been relevant after all.

sartrista7
Sep 5th, 2002, 03:00 PM
I really think Jenn should forget about the Williamses, it's not as if she's the only one who can beat them. It's a good article.

And btw, *every* player I've seen play Capriati has played about with the time rules. It's a very obvious tactic against someone who likes to rush to slow everything down.

Serena y Monica
Sep 5th, 2002, 03:07 PM
Just to clear up the issue of Amelie doing anything to hinder Jennifer I found these rules from a yahoo search:


The Singles Game
30. Continuous Play & Rest Periods
Play shall be continuous from the first service until the match is concluded, in accordance with the following provisions:
a. If the first service is a fault, the second service must be struck by the Server without delay.
The Receiver must play to the reasonable pace of the Server and must be ready to receive when the Server is ready to serve.

When changing ends a maximum of one minute thirty seconds shall elapse from the moment the ball goes out of play at the end of the game to the time the ball is struck for the first point of the next game.
The Umpire shall use his discretion when there is interference which makes it impractical for play to be continuous.

The organisers of international circuits and team events recognised by the ITF may determine the time allowed between points, which shall not at any time exceed twenty (20) seconds from the moment the ball goes out of play at the end of one point to the time the ball is struck for the next point.

USTA Comment: The 20 second rule applies only to certain international circuits and team events recognized by the ITF. When practical, in USTA sanctioned tournaments using a certified official in direct observation of the match, the time which shall elapse from the moment the ball goes out of play at the end of the point to the time the ball is struck shall not exceed 25 seconds.

b. Play shall never be suspended, delayed or interfered with for the purpose of enabling a player to recover his strength, breath, or physical condition.
However, in the case of accidental injury, the Umpire may allow a one-time three minute suspension for that injury.

c. If, through circumstances outside the control of the player, his clothing, footwear or equipment (excluding racket) becomes out of adjustment in such a way that it is impossible or undesirable for him to play on, the Umpire may suspend play while the maladjustment is rectified.

USTA Comment: If equipment other than a racket becomes unusable through circumstances outside the control of the player, play may be suspended for a reasonable period and the player may leave the Court to correct the problem. If a racket or racket string is broken, Rule 30 does not permit play to be suspended. A player who leaves the Court to get a replacement is subject to code violation(s) under the Point Penalty System.

USTA Comment: Loss of, or damage to, a contact lens or eyeglasses shall be treated as equipment maladjustment. All players must follow the same rules with respect to suspending play, even though in misty but playable weather, a player who wears glasses may be handicapped.

d. The Umpire may suspend or delay play at any time as may be necessary and appropriate.

e. After the third set, or when women take part the second set, either player is entitled to a rest, which shall not exceed 10 minutes, or in countries situated between latitude 15 degrees north and latitude 15 degrees south, 45 minutes and furthermore, when necessitated by circumstances not within the control of the players, the Umpire may suspend play for such a period as he may consider necessary. If play is suspended and is not resumed until a later day the rest may be taken only after the third set (or when women take part the second set) of play on such a later day, completion of an unfinished set being counted as one set.

If play is suspended and is not resumed until 10 minutes have elapsed in the same day the rest may be taken only after three consecutive sets have been played without interruption (or when women take part two sets), completion of an unfinished set being counted as one set.

Any nation and/or committee organising a tournament, match or competition, is at liberty to modify this provision or omit it from its regulations provided this is announced before the event commences. With respect to the Davis Cup and Fed Cup, only the International Tennis Federation may modify this provision or omit it from its Regulations.

USTA Comment: When a match is resumed after a suspension of more than ten minutes, it is permissible for the players to engage in a re-warm-up that may be of the same duration as that at the start of the match. The preferred method is to warm-up with other used balls and then insert the match balls when play starts. If the match balls are used in the re-warm-up, then the next ball change will be two games sooner. There shall be no re-warm-up after an authorized intermission or after a suspension of ten minutes or less.

f. A tournament committee has the discretion to decide the time allowed for a warm-up period prior to a match but this may not exceed five minutes and must be announced before the event commences.

USTA Comment: When there are no ballpersons this time may be extended to 10 minutes.

g. When approved point penalty and non-accumulative point penalty systems are in operation, the Umpire shall make his decisions within the terms of those systems.
h. Upon violation of the principle that play shall be continuous the Umpire may, after giving due warning, disqualify the offender.


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Cybelle Darkholme
Sep 5th, 2002, 03:10 PM
I think she should take the time to realize that everyone on the tour are her rivals, not just Venus and Serena. Looks like Momo taught her that lesson the hard way.

Serena y Monica
Sep 5th, 2002, 03:15 PM
You know I just don't get this whole pressure thing. Jennifer hasn't beaten a Williams since August of 2001, she's never beat Venus. So whose pressuring her to beat them. Maybe she and her parents should pressure Kim Patty Justine or Monica...but certainly not Jennifer.

At her next press confrence maybe she should just speak the truth. Say you know, I've not beat the Williams in over a year others have...perhaps you should ask them to put an end to the Williams show.

I wonder if she's feeling like a fool for saying "Yeah I like being pointed out as the one to beat them"... well I guess she learned that she has to get to them to beat them...shez...just shut up and play.

victory1
Sep 5th, 2002, 03:38 PM
Completely agree with Serena y Monica, the people they should focus on are the people who did and has beaten them this year, and Capriati is not among them!